Robert Duane Hirst

Robert Duane Hirst

Robert Duane Hirst

January 02, 1938~March 28, 2024

Robert Duane Hirst, 88, of Dunedin, Florida, passed away on March 28, 2024 at the Suncoast Hospice Care Center of North Pinellas.

Born in Dowagiac, Michigan on January 2nd, 1936, Robert (better known as “Bob”) met his future wife Kay Cooper in 1967 while working in Grand Rapids. After a period of courtship, they were married in 1974 and moved to Dunedin that same year.

He was a graduate of Decatur High School’s class of 1954, where he was a varsity pitcher and played forward for the Raiders “Little Eight” League Championship basketball team in his senior year.


Robert graduated with his BA from Michigan State University as a major in the School of Journalism, with a focus in advertising.


While in college he enrolled in ROTC, and upon graduation, he entered active service for two years at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. He attained the rank of Captain in the Artillery Corps.

In his first post-military career he was a Newspaper Advertising Manager for Booth Newspapers (today known as MLive Media Group), a media group in Michigan that still produces eight newspapers, including the Grand Rapids Press.

In 1973, he became an Account Executive with Reynolds Securities, which merged with Dean Witter & Co. to form Dean Witter Reynolds – at the time the largest merger in Wall Street history. In the late 1990s, it merged with Morgan Stanley. Robert retired in 1996.


Robert kept playing basketball into his late 50s, even playing full-court pickup games with his sons. He also enjoyed golf, swimming, and long walks, especially with his beloved dog, Pickles.


As an MSU graduate he was also a diehard fan of Spartan athletics, particularly football and basketball. When Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the greatest athlete in Michigan State history, went to the Los Angeles Lakers, he became an overnight Laker fan, to the great consternation of certain Boston Celtics fans in his social circle.

At various points in his life, he was a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Sertoma (Service to Mankind), and the Stephen Ministry.


He was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church in downtown Dunedin, as well as the Heritage United Methodist Church of Clearwater, and finally St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of Dunedin, where he served as an Elder.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years and the love of his life, Catherine (“Kay”) Hirst, his sons Stephen K. Hirst and Franklin R. Hirst, his brother Keith G. Hirst of Sarasota, his sister Margaret J. Elliott of San Diego, his six loving grandchildren, and six adoring nieces.

Robert was a man of faith who was dedicated to both his church, and family. His kindness, wisdom, and warm sense of humor will be greatly missed by all who knew him well, and many who barely did.

The memorial service will be at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of Dunedin on April 4th at 11:00 AM, on 705 Michigan Boulevard.

In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be sent to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of Dunedin.

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